Saturday, December 19, 2015

Fr. Delp on the Fourth Sunday of Advent: The Final Hour of Darkness

Fr. Alfred Delp's meditation for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, written in jail while he awaited trial at the hands of the Nazis, is considerably longer than that for the First Sunday, making it impractical to reproduce in full. Nevertheless, the first paragraph alone is worth quoting, quivering as it does with the anticipation of Christmas, made all the more striking by the personal circumstances of Fr. Delp's life.
What is true of the Advent prayers applies also to Advent in life. Before the curtain rises and the scene is disclosed, stretching into infinity, expectation mounts in a crescendo of excitement. Our confidence is well founded and so is the suspense of waiting because the promise is already fulfilled and its truth demonstrated. Day triumphs and the darkness shrinks back into nothingness - like the shadows in the wings when the stage is set as a temple of light. On the forth Sunday in Advent the acute awareness of shrouded mystery is deepening for the final hour of darkness that heralds the dawn. There is an intense awareness of captivity, of crippling disability and despair, but it is already shot through with a premonition of divine grace - the premonition that will soon become certainty.
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